Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home, but it’s also something that often gets overlooked. A neglected roof can lead to a number of issues, including water damage and mold growth.
To ensure your roof is in optimal condition, it’s essential to conduct regular inspections. This will help catch any issues early on to avoid further damage and costly repairs down the road.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters play a crucial role in routing storm and rain water away from the roof, walls and foundation of your home. If they become clogged with debris, it could lead to mold growth, a leaking roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home.
A homeowner must be proactive about gutter maintenance to prevent these problems. The best way to do this is to clean your gutters at least twice a year, particularly after heavy rainfall or snowfall.
How often you need to clean your gutters will depend on the amount of leaves, twigs and other debris that accumulates in them. If there are lots of leaves in the gutters, they can clog the system and cause costly issues down the road.
To clean your gutters safely and efficiently, you need a ladder, a bucket and a gutter scoop or a garden trowel. A few trash bags will help you collect the debris and gunk you pull out of your gutters during the cleaning process.
Another option for cleaning your gutters is to use a gutter-cleaning wand that attaches to a hose and has a curved end that you can use to direct water pressure against obstructed gutters or downspouts. These devices are available at home improvement stores and online retailers and can save you from climbing up the ladder to manually clean your gutters.
If you do not have a gutter-cleaning wand, you can also remove the buildup of debris using a power washer with a fine-spray nozzle. You may need to rinse the roof and siding afterward, but this is a quick and easy way to get rid of a layer of dirt and debris that has built up over time.
Once you have removed most of the debris, run a hose down your gutters and downspouts to flush them out and make sure they are working properly. If you are unsure, contact a roofing professional to inspect your gutters.
Aside from trees and foliage, wildlife like squirrels, chipmunks and birds have a knack for clogging up your gutters. These animals will place acorns, sticks and other nesting materials in your gutters, which can make them clog even faster than leaves.
Trim Tree Branches
When it comes to the upkeep of your roof, there are a few things that homeowners must do to keep their homes and their roofing in good shape. One of the most important is cleaning up the debris that collects on their roof. This includes leaves, sticks and other items that can clog your gutters and cause damage to the shingles on your roof.
Another thing that needs to be done is trimming tree branches that are hanging over your roof. This is particularly important if you live in an area where storms can cause a lot of damage to your roof. Trimming these branches can also help prevent animals from getting into your house.
Most deciduous trees need little pruning once they’re established in your yard. However, there are some situations when you’ll need to prune a branch to remove a dead limb, or diseased growth.
The best time to prune is in mid to late winter, when deciduous trees are dormant and the branches are easier to spot. In fact, some trees bleed sap when pruned in the winter, but this is not harmful and will stop as soon as the tree puts on its spring growth.
When pruning a branch, make sure that you’re making accurate cuts. The wrong cut can actually kill a tree, so it’s crucial that you know what to do and how to do it correctly.
Start by making a clean, precise cut right underneath the branch that you’re trying to trim. This is known as a flush cut, and you want to leave the stem tissue called the collar intact.
You’ll see the collar on most trees as a small swelled-up area around the base of the branch. The key is to make a cut slightly beyond this collar but close enough that you don’t leave a stub behind. This stimulates the stem tissue to grow over and seal the wound.
Once you’ve made a flush cut, you can move onto the next step. To do this, you’ll need to saw down a second cut about an inch further out from your first.
Inspect the Flashing
Flashing is one of the most important parts of any roofing system. If it’s not installed properly, it can lead to leaks that can damage your home and its contents. This is why it’s so important to inspect your roof on a regular basis. Palmdale roofing contractors emphasize the importance of inspecting carefully instead of just haphazardly looking around.
During your inspection, take note of any missing or displaced flashing, as well as any other areas that might need repairs. This will help you identify areas that need to be addressed before a leak occurs.
Valley Flashing — This is the most common type of roof flashing, which is usually installed along roof valleys and where two roofing planes meet. It acts as a barrier, stopping rainwater from crossing from one plane and under another. If valley flashing is displaced or missing, water can run down the side of your roof and into a crevice underneath it.
Counter Flashing — This is another common roof flashing that’s often installed incorrectly by some roofers. It’s important to install this correctly so that water can run off the roof and out of the chimney without entering your home.
Kick Out Flashing — This is a specific type of flashing that’s supposed to be installed where a roof edge meets a vertical wall. The flashing should be angled so that water running down the roof deck can be deflected away from the wall and into a gutter.
When your roof is leaking, it’s crucial to inspect all the flashing. This will help you find the root of the problem and eliminate it before it worsens.
The best way to inspect your roof’s flashing is to take your time and look at each area individually. This will help you recognize if there are any areas that need to be repaired, or if you need to replace the flashing altogether.
During your inspection, keep an eye out for any missing or displaced flashing, as this can lead to leaks that can damage your property and its contents. This will also help you identify areas that need to be addressed, before a leak occurs.
Clean the North Side of Your Roof
When it comes to roof maintenance, the north side of your house is often overlooked. But this side of the roof is particularly prone to damage.
This is because the roof is usually shaded from the sun and this creates an ideal environment for algae to grow on your shingles. It is also very common for gutters to drain directly onto the roof, which encourages moisture build up on this area of your home’s roofing system.
If you notice black streaks on your shingle roof or green mossy growth, you may be suffering from a type of roof mold called gloeocapsa magma. This is common in humid areas of the country, and it will only appear on the north side of your roof.
The best way to get rid of these streaks is by cleaning your roof. This will remove any algae spores that have settled in and prevent them from coming back.
You can use a simple solution of water and bleach to clean your roof. You should spray this on your shingles using a pump-type garden sprayer and let the mixture soak for about ten minutes before rinsing.
Alternatively, you can also use oxygen bleach, which uses hydrogen peroxide instead of sodium hypochlorite as an oxidizer. The liquid or powdered form of this is much more environmentally friendly than regular household bleach, and it attacks the algae directly, thereby taking away the stains.
Another alternative to traditional cleaning is a product like Spray and Forget or Wet and Forget, which can be purchased from most hardware stores, poured into a garden sprayer and applied directly from the ground, or even from a ladder or the edge of the gutter. These products are safe and effective, but will take 3-6 months to fully clean your roof.
Another way to help stop the growth of lichen and moss is to install a strip of copper or zinc-coated sheet metal along each side of the roof just below the ridge. The water that runs off these strips contains minute traces of metal that keep the algae from growing. This solution can be a little costly but is worth it for the long term health of your roof.